Meeting in the Nigerian capital Abuja last week, youth from various African countries laid an emphatic demand on world leaders- justice, dignity and real empowerment.
Opening ceremony of the African Urban Youth Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria
Meeting over three days, the young people deliberated on theme of the First African Urban youth Assembly 'Youth and Prosperity of Cities.' Discussions at the Assembly sought to inspire, empower and enable youths to learn from a network of young active citizens in Africa to promote open societies
Youth from various countries voiced their concerns. Among the youth who made contributions was Southern African Youth Movement representative, Mr. Matswe Nyoni who said, "Leaders need to consider the economic freedom of young people which will give the youth access to land to control the means of production and which would generate employment for them." He also said that governments need to look at legislative framework which speaks about land redistribution.
Below are some of the messages from other youth representatives who attended the forum:
Nigeria: UZOH, Ifeanyi, Country Coordinator, Nigerian Youth Habitat Network (NYHN) - "We are honored to be recognized by the United Nations as active participants in the development of human settlements and we thank the Federal Government of Nigeria for hosting the First African Urban Youth Assembly in Abuja."
Kenya: Okumu Sylvester - "Youth are innovative and entrepreneurs. Given support, they can establish themselves to avoid taking action without thinking of the consequences."
Kenya: Abdi Mohamed Isahaq – (representing youth from the Informal settlements) - "Leaders should take into consideration the basic needs of the youth, such as livelihoods, education and health."
Cameroun: Awa Innocent Ndali - "World leaders should consider national youth councils as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), that way the youth can be autonomous, accountable and credible. Credibility needs to be well defined by the Youth."
Algeria: Dr. Sakhri Khalil – "I ask youth to keep their optimism. Do not fold your hands and wait for government to settle your issues. It is for you to contribute positively to move sustainable agendas and work hard to realize your dreams."
Rwanda: Abdul Byukusange – "The youth must be the messengers of truth and reconciliation and take part in decision making. Rwanda is a case study in preparing Vision 2020".
Ethiopia: Fasil Nigussie (We are the Future, WAF) representative - "Sustainable Development should be achieved through the participation of youth"
Uganda: Agnes Namiyingo (Youth Action International) - "Young people must not lose focus; they should contribute to the development agenda in order to overcome unemployment and illiteracy. Let us all work to achieve sustainable urban development."
Nigeria, Abuja: Jophia Gupar, (Youth Leader, Abuja) - "The youth should try peace for a change to be able to develop and make progress. Let us dialogue as youth and work with our governments. We ask our governments to recognize young people as participants in decision making."
Nigeria, Kano: Balarabe Rufai - (National Youth Council) - "I want the youth from all over the world to embrace peace and respect diversity. We all live in a global village and we need to overcome such dangerous issues as disease, poverty and intolerance. We must work hard and support our governments to achieve sustainable development."
Tunisia: Fedia Gasmi – I am struck by the slogan of the revolution. Young people want justice, dignity, development and real empowerment. To the youth: keep the hope, we can change the world through peaceful means."
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